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   RE: xml search engine?

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  • From: Kay Michael <Michael.Kay@icl.com>
  • To: xml-dev@xml.org
  • Date: Thu, 30 Mar 2000 10:46:06 +0100

> There have been XML search engines back as far as 1991 or thereabouts,
> then operating of course under the rubric of SGML search 
> engines.  ...
> So there is a considerable body of experience as to what such 
> an API might
> be like.  For some reason, little of it is reflected in 
> XPath.  W3C held
> a workshop on the notion of a query language for XML back in 1998...

I really think you need to distinguish between a query engine and a search
engine. Query engines answer questions like "find me all documents that have
an <xyz> element as the third grandchild of an <abc> element". Search
engines answer questions like "have you got anything about the causes of
hyperinflation in inter-war Germany?"

Search engines will use markup tags and namespaces as hints to assess the
relevance of the document to the user's line of enquiry, just as they use
the text. That's quite different from query, which is looking for definite
matches to definite boolean conditions.

Mike Kay

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